Synopses & Reviews
Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa's moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as India and China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world's largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape.
This book argues that rather than failing the test, Latin America's efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world's most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy. In many countries including Brazil, Chile and Mexico-democratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge from Hugo Chavez's oil-fuelled populism, and much is at stake. Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world's most majestic natural environments.
Drawing on Michael Reid's many years of reporting from inside Latin America's cities, presidential palaces, and shantytowns, the book provides a vivid, immediate, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.
"[A] brilliantly researched and annotated work of scholarship....Reid has no ideological ax to grind, chiding both the left and the right for treating the region with 'the utmost condescension.'" New York Times
"[A] comprehensive and erudite assessment of the region. . . . While the social and economic face of Latin America is becoming more attractive, political life remains ugly and, in some countries, is getting even uglier."and#8212;Moisand#233;s Naim, Washington Post
"No one who seriously aspires to discuss Latin American politics, economics and culture should go without reading Forgotten Continent."and#8212;Jorge Castaneda and Patricio Navia, National Interest
"Reid's account is essential reading for its clear portrayal of what can be called a postand#8212;'Washington consensus' view of Latin America."and#8212;Steven Volk, The Journal of American History
"Reid's book offers something valuable to both specialists and the general reading public. . . . He writes of Latin America with great empathy, intelligence, and insight."and#8212;James Brennan, Hispanic American Historical Review
"[An] intelligent and thoughtful overview. . . . Reid offers a serious and well-written synthesis of Latin America's political economy that is meticulously supported by a wealth of data and the work of the best scholars studying the region."and#8212;Donald Share, The Americas
About the Author
Michael Reid is editor of the "Americas" section of the Economist. Previously based in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, he has traveled throughout Latin America and reported for the BBC, the Guardian, and the Economist since 1982.